The auto industry and Detroit are tightly tied together from a mental perspective for most Americans. There is no doubt that the auto industry still provides a lot of jobs in the region also, although 95 percent of them are outside of the city of Detroit. Most people do not realize that the city itself has only one factory within the city limits now, and two if you count GM’s in the enclave of Hamtramck.
Although sales are stronger amongst the automakers today, and that’s good news, it’s been difficult for the Detroit three to attract new, young talent to support an industry that permanently laid off many parents of those young people. The car industry currently has a widespread negative perception amongst young people, with a recent survey by Detroit Regional Chamber group MichAuto stating that only 9 percent of “adult influencers” talking to young people having a positive view of it, and less than 50 percent of all respondents believing there are opportunities for career growth in the car business.
In short, and this may come as no surprise, in general, talented young people have little interest in being involved with the car industry right now. And that’s a problem for the future of our local economy.
Mix that with the fact that the auto jobs today require much more technical skill as automation has taken root. The jobs that are available today require more education than in the past, especially in the trades, even though the pay can be in excess of $50,000 a year.
But how did we get here? This infographic, put together and shared with us by CJ Pony Parts, follows an interesting historical timeline that reaches all the way back to 1898 and includes major events, the population of the city of Detroit, and the overall employment by the auto industry throughout the years.